Proctor's Exam

John Proctor, of The Crucible fame

John Proctor was a god-fearing man of good reputation and high moral fiber. But in the panic-stricken town of Salem, he was accused of witchery. If he "confessed" to the crime, he would be allowed to live, but if he did not, the gallows were in his future. Believing he was doing the right thing, Proctor took his punishment without bending to the court's will. In the end of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John Proctor abandons his morals and takes the selfish way out.

Salem was a fervently religious town in Proctor's time. Essentially a theocracy, the government of the town used the Bible as the highest authority. According to the Bible, selling one's soul to the Devil is a bad thing. John was faced with a choice: admit witchery and stay alive but be humiliated, or hold his tongue and save face but not his neck. He chose the noose, which in itself seems honorable and dignified. However, according to the Bible, suicide is disreputable as well. And since he could have chosen to live, but didn't, John essentially committed suicide, perpetrating a sin against his god. One might argue that admitting a lie is wrong. Hale, a representative of justice and of his god, pleaded with Proctor to admit the crime, showing god's flexibility on this issue. He didn't even die with honor. They were hanging him for witchery, not the most honorable crime.

John Proctor was remarkably short-sighted. In Andover, people were already overthrowing their court. Six months after his death, the Salem witch trials were over, and the general populace had regained its sanity. If he had stayed alive, he would have regained some semblance of honor when people realized he was not a witch. And he would have been alive for Elizabeth, who asked him to admit guilt, and his three children. Instead, Elizabeth became a widow, and his children were fatherless. There is absolutely nothing honorable about John Proctor's death. He failed his test. He was a fool.

Proctor Exam (Take 2, a rebuttal)

John Proctor was a god-fearing man of good reputation. He had a problem with a young town girl which scars his high moral fiber. But in the panic-stricken town of Salem, he was accused of witchery. If he "confessed" to the crime, he would be allowed to live, but if he did not, the gallows were in his future. Believing he was doing the right thing, Proctor took his punishment without bending to the court's will. In the end of Arthur Miller's The Crucible, John Proctor stays true to the character he has become, of which is more honest, true, loving, and virtuous then the John Proctor at the beginning of the play.

Salem was a puritanical and fervently religious town in Proctor's time. The town was indeed a theocracy, the government of the town used the Bible as the highest authority. The Bible says selling one's soul to the Devil is a horrible deed. John was wrongfully accused of witchery, he was then faced with a choice: admit witchery and stay alive, or hold his tongue and be executed. He chose to not lie to the court, thus sentenced his death. He did not commit suicide. He told the truth and others killed him. Within the realms of his character there was no way he could have chosen differently. At the end of the play he is enlightened and humbled. Because of his humility he would not lie any longer, he had kept the village girl a secret, nor would he live to the standards of those that were wrong. God isn't flexible, especially in the realms of puritanical beliefs. To Puritans God is black and white, set in stone. Hale's desire for John to live a lie is example of his unworthiness and his shortcomings. Hale attempted to reason with the wrong person, he didn't stop the skewed and sacrilegious trial. They were hanging him for witchery, a crime he did not commit. Up in heaven the puritanical god is smiling at him as he dies.

Because this is a story one cannot read too much into information not given. An exact time within the realms of the play is not set. Courts being overthrown isn't mentioned. An audience member with no outside information wouldn't know these things they are not part of the story. The general populace didn't have it's sanity. If this story were not a tragedy then John would have led the overthrowing of the court. If he would have stayed alive he would have lied to the court, to god, and (perhaps most importantly) to his wife, whom he finally learned to honor. John Proctor's death shows that he respects the church, he respects god's laws, and he respects himself. He was a saint.

In The Crucible, John Proctor is the play’s tragic hero.

John Proctor was a very tall and large man with a lot of force and energy. Though honest and outspoken, he had one major secret. He had had an affair with Abigail Williams.

Abigail, who was working for Elizabeth, John’s wife, at the time, was fired because of Elizabeth’s suspicions about their affair. Abigail, who was the jealous type, felt the need for revenge.

Being the leader that she was, she got most of the girls in the town involved. She forced them to pretend to see spirits, and did everything she could to make sure Elizabeth would end up dead. Because of her jealousy she caused the entire witchcraft hysteria to get out of control.

Of course, Elizabeth was one of the first people Abigail accused of witchcraft. Abigail wanted to have John Proctor to herself and to get revenge on Elizabeth. She also pretended people were doing witchcraft because she wanted attention.

John wanted to save his wife’s life and to stop all the madness. John was a good man and even though his reputation meant a lot to him, he decided to confess his adultery to prove that Abigail was a liar.

John was very rash in speech, judgement, and action. Because of that, he ended up getting arrested. The only way to safe his life would be to make a false confession. So now he had to make a big decision: Life or Death.

When Abigail found out that John was going to get hanged, she didn’t want to have to witness it, so she stole thirty pounds from her uncle and ran away. She felt bad that everything went so terribly wrong. She was upset because she didn’t want John to die. It was because of her selfishness, that everything got out of control.

John wanted to live to be with his wife and family. He decided to make a false confession, but as soon as he found out that he had to sign a paper telling the town about his false confession, he had second thoughts.

John hated hypocrites, but that is what he would be if he made a false confession. He was the one who, throughout the whole witch trials was trying to convince people to tell the truth. He knew that when people saw the paper on the church door, people would think he was a bad person and a liar.

Would it even be worth living if he had to go through life knowing that he did the wrong thing? He would have to live with the shame for the rest of his life, and he didn’t want to have to do that.

Either his name would be ruined because people would think he had been doing witchcraft, or his name would be ruined because people would know he chose to confess instead of sticking to what he believed in. He didn’t have much of a choice.

He chooses death over life. Elizabeth’s life was already saved because she was pregnant, and until she had the baby she could not be hanged. He was not a selfless person and thought about his wife’s life first. He stuck with what he knew was right, yet he died because of the foolishness of others.

John was a person that many people will look up to in the years to come. He was very strong and an independent person. He stuck to what he believed in, and that made him a great person.

He didn’t deserve to die. He got dragged into the whole witchcraft hysteria, only because he wanted to stop it. Yet, he dies in a very tragic way. That is what makes him the tragic hero of The Crucible.

In the end, John still had his goodness. He figured confessing wasn’t worth it. He died as a good man, and that’s all that mattered to him.

As far as Abigail, she got what she deserved because she lost the love of her life, and had to live with the guilt that she caused John Proctor’s death.

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